Track and field teams weather the storms at Platteville Invitational

Despite rain and lightning delays, Blugold athletes have standout performances



Stephanie Frempong-Longdon continued her strong performance in the triple jump, scoring second place with 36-11 1/2.

Despite the uncooperative weather, the UW-Eau Claire men’s and women’s track and field teams continued to build on their previous performances at the Platteville Invitational.

The invite took place last Thursday and Friday, where over 20 schools came to complete. However, because of rain and lightning delays, the meet didn’t run the finals of the 100-meter dash, 100-meter hurdles or the 4×400 relay, and no team scores were recorded.

Senior Jessie Reineck said the weather hindered the athletes’ routines. The multiple lightning delays interfered with her warm-ups and forced the meet coordinators to adjust the order of events.

“It was frustrating for many athletes,” Reineck said, “but Platteville did the best they could as a host, and I was just happy that I got to compete the majority of my events.”

Reineck took first in the 400, the second meet in a row at which Eau Claire’s women’s team took first in the event. She beat the competition by almost a full second, running a 55.84, and currently has the fourth fastest time in the country.

This was the fastest she had ever run the 400, Reineck said, and the first time she had run it in under 56 seconds. She said to have such an achievement was unexpected, especially considering it was so early in the season.

Reineck was also part of the women’s 4×100-meter relay, along with sprinting powerhouses junior Kelsey Worachek, sophomore Claire Fischer and senior Jess Rupnow. They took first at 47.02, beating the competition by a full second. This time is currently ranked second in the nation.

Head coach Chip Schneider said he was optimistic about Reineck’s chances of going even further in her events as the season progresses.

“Jessie will go to nationals in the 400 with the time she ran this weekend, as will the women’s 4×100,” Schneider said. “Both were excellent for this time of the year, and we hope to build on them.”

The women’s team continued its strong performance in the sprinting events. In the 200, Blugold athletes took three of the eight scoring places. Junior Ashleigh Buergi took second at 25.29 and Fischer took third, only 0.01 seconds behind. Rupnow followed at 25.80 for sixth place.

Although she was not able to compete in finals due to the weather, Worachek had another strong performance in the 100. With a time of 12.50, she was ranked first after the preliminary round.

Members of the women’s team continued to perform well in the field events. Sophomore Erica Oawster got second in the discus once again, improving her throw from 138-08 to 141-11. In addition, senior Stephanie Frempong-Longdon took second in the triple jump with 36-11 1/2.

The men’s team also fared well in the field events. Senior Matt Dietlin once again scored in both the pole vault and the high jump. He tied for fifth in the pole vault, clearing 15-01 3/4. In the high jump, he was part of a four-way tie for third at 6-04.

In addition, Blugold athletes doubled up in the javelin throw. Junior Michael Amerlan took first with 145-02, followed by freshman Dylan Cooper, who took second with 135-07.

Although some placed lower than last week, Blugold athletes continued to improve their distances. In the shot put, sophomore David Kornack got sixth place last week at La Crosse and ninth place at Platteville, but he improved his throw from 48-08 to 50-10 3/4.

The men’s team also had a number of standout performances in the distance events. Senior Steven Schimmel took second in the 3000-meter steeplechase at 9:51.79. The steeplechase is an obstacle race where runners must overcome barriers and water jumps.  

Meanwhile, freshman Kyler Lueck and senior Matt Cooper placed in the 800, separated by a fraction of a second. Lueck took third at 1:52.30, followed by Cooper in fifth at 1:52.82.

Senior Nick Petersson and junior Darian Lau, who both had promising indoor seasons, also doubled up in their event. Petersson and Lau scored third and sixth in the 5K at 14:24.43 and 14:25.96, respectively and are currently ranked fourth and eighth in the nation for Division III.

Despite his strong performance at Platteville, Petersson said he has had challenges in the 5K in the past.

“I have struggled with kicking at the end of a 5K,” Petersson said. “Any distance shorter than 5K and I’ll usually have a decent kick, but 5Ks and up have always been harder for me to finish strong.”

However, Petersson’s time at the Platteville Invite was a new personal record by about three seconds from the last outdoor season. He plans to build his confidence by running his race and sticking to his routine.

The Eau Claire track and field teams will compete again this upcoming weekend at the Phil Esten Challenge. On Thursday, April 20, athletes will run in the 10K, as well as five of the decathlon events and four heptathlon events. On Friday, April 21, athletes will complete the decathlon and heptathlon events, as well as the regularly scheduled track and field meet.
Visit Accurace Timing for a full list of men’s and women’s results from the Platteville Invite.